Coast Guard budget request funds key shipbuilding programs

Written by Nick Blenkey
Forward end of Offshore patrol cutter

USCG budget request includes $597 million for the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) program. [Image: Eastern Shipbuildin]

Highlights of the Department of Homeland Security’s 2022 budget request for the U.S. Coast Guard include $170 million to fund Polar Security Cutter program management and provide for long lead time materials for the third PSC. DHS says that this acquisition recapitalizes the Coast Guard’s heavy polar icebreaker fleet to support national interests in the polar regions and provide assured surface presence in those waters.

An additional $15 million request, under the heading “Polar Sustainment,” provides for a multi-year service life extension project for heavy icebreaker, Polar Star, America’s only operational heavy icebreaker. This funding is intended to prevent a gap in operational capability prior to the delivery of the second PSC.

The largest shipbuilding request in the Coast Guard budget is $597 million for the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) program. This request supports construction of OPC #4 and Long Lead Time Materials for OPC #5.

A $67 million request for the Waterways Cutter program supports program management activities and initial Detail Design and Construction contract award to recapitalize the current fleet of inland tenders and barges including the 75-foot, 100-foot, and 160-foot Inland Construction Tenders; 65-foot and 100-foot Inland Buoy Tenders; and 65-foot and 75-foot River Buoy Tenders.

Surface Fleet Maintenance Backlog

$60.3 million is requested to provides additional shore-side support personnel and funding to improve vessel readiness and reduce lost patrol days across the Coast Guard’s surface fleet due to deferred maintenance, reduced dry dock and dockside availabilities, and rising costs for parts and services.

Rescission of National Security Cutter (NSC) 12

On the other side of the ledger, the DHS budget rescinds $65 million of funds that were provided in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2020 for long lead time materials for a twelfth Rescinds funds provided in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2020 for long lead time materials of a 12th National Security Cutter.

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